Maritime Law

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Who Is and Who Is Not an Expert Witness?

It is not unusual for each side in a maritime case to offer testimony at trial from an expert witness. An expert witness is a disinterested and unbiased person who, based on education and experience,... Full story


Don't Be Late

When a new maritime matter comes into the law office, among the first things to be done is determining what the applicable statute of limitations is. A wrong assumption can lead to significant... Full story


The Jones Act Applies to Cargo?

Most maritime lawyers and seafarers are familiar with the part of the Jones Act that provides a remedy for injuries and death suffered by seamen in the course of their employment on a vessel in naviga... Full story


If the Shoe Fits...

Most of us have a wide variety of footwear we can choose to wear on the job. Seamen, however, are quite limited in their choices. If a seaman chooses the wrong footwear and is injured as a result,... Full story


One Way to Lose a Maritime Lien

A maritime lien is created when certain goods and/or services are provided to a vessel. (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, Maritime Liens 101, November 2010). It is a non-possessory lien meaning the... Full story


Gangways and Alcohol – Not A Good Mix

A vessel owner has a legal duty to provide a safe way for people to get on and off the vessel, such as a gangway. What happens when someone attempts to board the vessel while intoxicated and suffers... Full story


Always Know Where You Are

Many marine insurance policies condition coverage on the insured vessel remaining within a specified geographic area. If an insured vessel suffers a casualty when navigating outside the specified... Full story


Common Sense Left Ashore

It is refreshing to see judges recognize the principle of common sense when deciding a case. Unfortunately, sometimes seafarers leave it ashore when signing onto a vessel. After they sue for personal... Full story


Need Help With That?

A seaman’s work is physically demanding. He must lift lines, equipment, stores, and other heavy objects while on the vessel. When a seaman lifts something that is heavy and he suffers an injury, is... Full story


Libel and Slander at Sea

Nearly every week someone is in the news apologizing for writing or saying something false about someone else. Libel is a disseminated written false statement about someone, damaging that person’s... Full story


Of Ladders and Longshoremen

Longshoremen routinely use ladders when working aboard vessels. Usually the ladders belong to the vessel owner who has them aboard for use by the vessel’s crew, but knows the longshoremen will use... Full story


When Vessels Break From Their Moorings

When a vessel breaks away from her moorings, is the vessel owner liable for the resulting injuries and/or damage? The answer is: probably. The Louisiana rule During the Civil War, the United States... Full story


When Crewmembers Duke It Out

Disputes aboard a vessel are usually resolved with words and amicable negotiation. Occasionally, they are resolved with fists and weapons. This column explains the circumstances under which a vessel... Full story


A Seaman's Release of Claims: Is It Enforceable?

The signing of a release is an integral part of the settlement of a claim for personal injuries. In exchange for the settlement funds, the injured party releases the responsible party from any further liability arising out of the injuries. This... Full story


Don't Do That!

Every once in a while, but hopefully not too often, a new case comes into the law office that makes the lawyer want to turn back time and advise the client: “don’t do that.” Unfortunately, the... Full story


A Mutual Fault Collision – Who Pays What?

After reading a news story about two ships that collided miles off the Japanese coast with significant damage and loss of life, my brother wrote to me: “How the hell do two ships collide at sea?... Full story


Rough Seas

Judges who have spent significant time at sea are few and far between. Nonetheless, they set high standards for seafarers and the carriers who employ them. Because of these high standards, judges do... Full story


In the Beginning

In response to Golden Oldies (Pacific Maritime Magazine, March 2017), a reader asked how admiralty lawyers find old cases. She imagined law clerks digging through dusty books. That was the old... Full story


Golden Oldies

Most non-maritime lawyers like to direct the court’s attention to the most recent case on a point of law. Most maritime lawyers like to take a different approach. They prefer to direct the... Full story


Captain's Orders

I have been lucky in my career to have represented vessel owner clients whose masters have acted in a non-negligent manner when commanding their vessels. Other lawyers have not been so lucky, as thous... Full story


Pay Attention!

Accidents and injuries happen on vessels. Sometimes the vessel owner is to blame for being negligent or having an unseaworthy vessel. However, compensation for an injury on a vessel may be denied if... Full story


A Broken Promise

Many marine insurance policies contain warranties. A warranty can be described in one word: promise. It can be a promise by the insured that he will do something. It can be a promise by the insured... Full story


Silence is Not Golden

In many elementary schools, teachers post the motto “Silence is Golden” on the bulletin board to help students remember they should be quiet in class. In the maritime context, however, the motto... Full story


The Court Is Always Open - Sometimes

Most admiralty lawyers learn early in their careers that the federal courts are always supposed to be open even though the sign on the front door says “Mon-Fri 9-5”. That is because vessels are... Full story


Damages Not to be Overlooked

In addition to loss of use damages (Pacific Maritime Magazine November 2015) there are other types of damages in maritime cases that to some are illogical if not unfair. However, when a maritime... Full story


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